Poem Therapy 10:32 P.M. 26 June 2012: Identiy Crisis - F. D. Reeve-

Identity Crisis

He was urged to prepare for success: "You never can tell,
    he was told over and over; "others have made it;
    one dare not presume to predict. You never can tell. 

Who’s Who in America lists the order of cats
    in hunting, fishing, bird-watching, farming,
    domestic service--the dictionary order of cats

who have made it. Those not in the book are beyond the pale.
    Not to succeed in you chosen profession is unthinkable.
    Either you make it or--you’re beyond the pale.

Do you understand?"
                   "No," he shakes his head.
    "Are you ready to forage for freedom?"
                                          "No," he adds,
    "I mean, why is a cat always shaking his head?

Because he’s thinking: who am I? I am not
    only one-ninth of myself. I always am
    all of the selves I have been and will be but am    not."

"The normal cat," I tell him, "soon adjusts
    to others and to changing circumstances;
    he makes his way the way he soon adjusts."

"I can’t," he says, "perhaps because I’m blue,
    big-footed, lop-eared, socially awkward, impotent,
    and I drink too much, whether because I’m blue

or because I like it, who knows. I want to escape
    at five o’clock    into an untouchable world
where the top is the bottom and everyone wants to escape

from the middle, everyone, every day. I mean,
    I have visions of two green eyes rising
    out of the ocean, blinking, knowing what I mean."

"Never mind the picture, repeat after me
    the self’s creed. What he tells you you
    tells me and I repeats. Now, after me:

I love myself, I wish I would live well.
    Your gift of love breaks through my self-defeat.
    All prizes are blue. No cat admits defeat.
The next time that he lives he will live well."
I can't say that I'm having an identity crisis, rather, an identity clearing.

Lately, I've been feeling a little like a hoarder who one day looks around and thinks, what is all this junk doing in my house? I need to have a yard sale. I need to donate all of this stuff to the Goodwill.

What I'm discovering is that all the "stuff" I thought I needed to be who I am, well, I just don't need it anymore. And, I can't really remember why I needed it in the first place.

A lot of who I thought I had to be to be successful, is about as useful as the excruciatingly uncomfortable high heels from five seasons ago, that I haven't worn for forever. I bought them because they were the "it" thing. Now that they are out, why do I still have them?

What I am discovering lately is that I'm finding it difficult to artiulate through writing. I can't find the words to express this impulse to shed all the layers, strip down to only what is necessary, only what is truly needed, the impulse to clear out anything extraneous. It is  music and the natural world, that is speaking for me. I know the words will come back, but for now, I want to be still, and listen.

Perhaps, I am blue, the color, not the emotion, like the speaker of the poem.

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